NAIROBI, March 16 – In his second season with Zambian giants Zesco United, Harambee Stars defender David ‘Calabar’ Owino says he wants to help the club reach the group stages of the CAF Champions League for the second time in history.
Owino, has won back-to-back titles with the Zambian side but he believes his greatest achievement will be seeing the club enter into the money bracket of continental football.
Zesco will be heading to Conakry, Guinea this weekend where they will face off with home side FC Horoya in the return leg of the Champions League first round.
“I believe we have a good chance this season looking at how well our team is blended. It is not going to be easy though because every team is tough. We might have won by a huge margin at home but we were faced with a tough encounter.”
“Looking ahead to the return leg, we need to keep the same momentum to move to the next round. It is a huge possibility getting to the group stages and everyone is working towards that. We are just three matches away and if we can give 100 percent we will achieve our target,” Owino told Capital Sport from Ndola.
Zesco carry with them a 4-1 advantage from the first-leg where another Kenyan, Jesse Were scored in the rout played in Ndola last weekend.
If they successfully hound off a result in Conakry, they will face either Malian side Stade Malien or Cameroonian giants Cotton Sport in the second round.
Zesco are playing in the Champions League for the fifth time having exited at the second round last season.
Owino settled fast into life in Zambia after moving from Kenyan champions Gor Mahia, but he says his comfort has been stepped up this year with the arrival of two more Kenyans, Were and former Gor team mate Teddy Akumu.
“These are players I have played with before and we understand each other so well. It becomes easy to settle down mentally in life outside your country as well as on the pitch when you have people with whom you have a good understanding,” Owino noted.
After the trip to Conakry this weekend, the 2013 Kenyan Premier League defender of the year will be switching his attention to national duty with Harambee Stars, preparing to face Guinea Bissau in a crucial 2017 African Cup of Nations back to back qualifier.
Kenya sits third in Pool E, three points behind leaders Congo and Zambia, who are managed by Owino’s coach at Zesco George Lwandamina.
Owino believes a win over Guinea Bissau in the two legged ties will put them in a good position to fight for the automatic qualifying slot.
“This is the most crucial match after losing to Zambia at home. We complicated our chances but I believe we can bounce back. If we get six points in these two matches, we have a chance and we should work hard to take it.
“Zambia are having good preparations here so it means we have a tough road ahead,” the centre-back outlined.
Speaking on the appointment of Stanley Okumbi who has taken over as Harambee Stars coach from Bobby Williamson, the defender promised to give full support to the coach as the team focuses on getting back the lost glory in Kenyan football.